THE BASIS POINT

Strong Consumer Spending To End 2011

Mortgage Applications (week ended 12/30)
-Purchase Index, Week/Week -9.7%
-Refinance Index, Week/Week -1.9%
-Composite Index, Week/Week -3.7%
-This report contains Christmas week and a seasonal adjustment

Retail
-ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, Week/Week +1.2%
-ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, Year/Year +5.3%
-This is a report of comparison of same store sales of retail chains

-Redbook Store Sales, Year/Year +4.9%
-This is a measure of sales at chain stores, department stores and discounters

-Both reports show strength in consumer spending for the week ended December 31, driven by deep retailer discounts. Consumer spending is the largest component of GDP.

Factory Orders (November 2011)
-Factory Orders, Month/Month +1.8%.
-The prior two months had showed decrease in Factory Orders
-Dept of Commerce full report

Fed’s New Rate Communication Strategy
Yesterday’s announcement that the Fed will start to announce interest rate policy in advance was, for me, a non-story. Couple of points:

(1) it has almost never been the case that rate targets have not been exactly what was suggested. The only cases I can think of immediately are the crisic lowerings post 9/11 and post-Lehman.

(2) the Fed has already said that it would keep rates low through the middle of 2013.